By Ms. Vibha Khosla,
Principal, Shri Ram Global School, Delhi-West
Would you ever start your journey without deciding your destination? If your response is yes, then better be prepared for surprises. How do you identify which path to choose, or whether you have arrived if you do not have a destination?
In the context of the teaching-learning process, the ultimate destination is the learning outcome.
It is extremely crucial for a teacher to know where they would like their students to be, hence learning outcomes are very significant. A very fundamental question is generally asked by several teachers-Should we mention the Learning Outcomes at the beginning of the lesson?
Should the students be made aware of the Learning Outcomes before they start teaching?
YES, YES and YES. It is extremely imperative for the students to know their destination and the teacher should mention them right in the beginning. Not only this, there are several other benefits of Learning Outcomes. Prior to starting a lesson, it is important to gather information about students’ current level of knowledge, this will help to adjust the instruction to meet students where they are.
Students must be given the opportunity to reflect upon the knowledge acquired through the learning process, which helps to understand the precision of the learning outcomes. This will help the students to understand what they would be expected to know, and what they would be able to do after learning a particular unit.
We can track changes in students’ perceptions of their knowledge over time. Give students the same survey before and after the unit and compare their “pre” and “post” responses. The aggregated data can then be shared with students to help them assess their level of learning.
Learning outcomes can increase student learning in foundational knowledge or short-term retention and higher-order cognitive processes, such as application or transfer of knowledge. For example, student’s exam performance can be increased provided we redesigned the course by creating learning goals for each class session, making these goals explicit to students in each session and labeling exam questions with the corresponding learning goal.
But how do learning outcomes improve learning?
Learning outcomes shape what students learn. When students know what they are expected to learn, they can direct their attention towards those particular areas and use deliberate practice to strategically work towards learning those concepts and skills. Providing students with clear learning outcomes that are aligned with assessment as compared to withholding these components results in a more efficient process of acquiring knowledge wherein students know the areas needed to be improved upon and hence, seek additional information for the same.
Providing guided instruction at the beginning of a lesson, unit or course is a quintessential element in guided instruction. This approach is immensely beneficial as compared to approaches lacking structure especially when it comes to novice learners.
Furthermore, the practice of self-regulation and metacognition is better fostered when students are aware of the learning outcomes in advance. It is important to have a clear knowledge of the Aims and Learning Outcomes
The lesson plan can be designed in a coherent way.
Students can make informed choices about which programme and modules to choose.
Students are clear about what they are expected to achieve at a whole programme level and at the level of individual units of learning.
Learning Outcome or LO is an integral part of teaching and learning.